FROM PAGE 33: 1997 Grand Forks flood impacted curling club stayed there that whole summer until late August.” Tat’s when they moved into their present location on South Washington. It is a modest space in a strip mall with about half the square footage they had in their original location. Tey’ve continued to build a strong cycling and ski community in Grand Forks. Longtime Ski and Bike Shop employee and co-owner Pat White looks

back at the curling club with bittersweet feelings. “Like a lot of people, I lost everything. Te bike

shop gave me a space to pick up the pieces and get back to work. We were one of the first places back in business. In a way I suppose it gave us a sense of normalcy, and it showed people we weren’t going to give up.”

Tat fall when the Ski and Bike shop moved out, many curlers wanted

to get back to their favorite winter pastime. Te summer tenants had made that process much easier with a little extra money to start repairs. Members found themselves at a crossroads and there were different ideas about how and when to save the club and clean up the stagnant building. People had spent their summer cleaning up homes, schools, and businesses and had just barely started to get their lives back together. Many simply didn’t have the time or energy to clear the hurdles and get back to curling. It very easily could have been a short-term or even long-term hiatus for the club. Club member Cindy Samson was president starting the fall of 1997 and

she recalls many members wanted to make sure the club didn’t lose momen- tum. “We had to stay open that first season for curling, because I knew if we missed even one season, it would be difficult to get many members back.” She remembers a very dedicated group of curlers: “Prior to the flood, the

club’s membership was good and we had a sizeable group of volunteers for whatever project or event we had going on. Aſter the flood, people were exhausted and busy trying to get their homes and lives back together. At the time, some felt the club could wait until the next year. Tere was a group that pulled together and worked tirelessly cleaning, painting, installing new flooring, and getting our kitchen back in working order. Our plant and cooling tower needed to be checked out as well. We hired an ice-man to help us get our ice in place and managed to be curling by Tanksgiving. Tere were only 67 members that season, but we had an awesome board of direc- tors and were able to have all of our usual bonspiels and other club events.” Te flood also brought some new people to the club. Club member Bruce

Tollefson came to Grand Forks that fall of 1997 and immediately found a place among dedicated members. Bruce had curled in Park River for 15 years and wanted to continue curling. He remembers, “I worked with Perry Marto and he encouraged me to come be a part of the club. I found a great group of people in Grand Forks.” Club member Bruce Keifenheim remembers it too. “Te first time I ever

stepped in the curling club was aſter the flood when the bike shop was there. We bought our daughter her first bicycle and she was about 6 or 7 at the time. It was slightly rusted but otherwise in good condition.” Later that fall he came back to curl and both he and his wife have been longtime members. It took hard work and lots of time for Grand Forks to recover from the

flood, and the curling club was no exception. When curling made its debut as an Olympic sport in 1998, however, it helped the club in many ways. With televised coverage, there was a new interest in the winter sport. Tat

34 ))

On the leſt side of the picture (above) you can see where the flood waters leſt stains on the old Grand Forks Curling Club building.

Submitted photo

enthusiasm has continued to grow over the past two decades. Tis year the club had another group of dedicated members pulling together to reach a club milestone and build a new building. Te constant reminders of a flood- damaged building are now gone and only memories remain. Twenty years aſter we almost lost the curling club to a flood, a new wave of optimism and excitement has taken shape. Many of those dedicated members are still around from 1997, but there are plenty of new faces. Together they are a part of the continuing story of the Grand Forks Curling Club. Q

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